Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The local library

Just last Thursday, I had walked over to the local library to get a library card. I noticed that there would be a library book sale on Friday and Saturday, so of course I had to go. I got a couple of books on Friday, they were the same price as in the little book store the library has. On Saturday, you could get a whole bag of books for only $5. Since I saw some that I was interested in and some for my sister-in-law, I got a bag filled to bursting! After the purchase, I had to divide the books between two bags and still the bags were heavy!

So I got a whole bunch of books for my sister-in-law. She's teaching English to elementary school kids in Germany and would like to start a little library so they can read English books on their own if they'd like. I think I found a nice variety on different reading levels. I've read the following in the last couple of days:

  • The Nancy Drew Notebook #4 - Bad Day for Ballet by Carolyn Keene
  • Boy Can He Dance by Eileen Spinelli
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a graphic classic based on the novel by Jules Verne
  • Night-Time by Eileen Pettigrew
  • Bonny's Big Day by James Herriot
  • The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night (this is an illustration of an old song and has especially detailed drawings)
  • When the Wind Blew by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Bear Mouse by Berniece Freschet
  • Disney's Brother Bear
It wouldn't be fair to count these for the 50 books challenge (unless I get desperate towards the end of the year ;) ), but they were fun to read, I think the students will enjoy those and the others I included (even a couple of the Narnia novels by C.S. Lewis - I read those a few years ago).

Of course I like books on tape, and there were a few of those as well, so I added those to my bag as well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


By now, I've moved across the country to the Washington DC area. I'll come back to California, though. We haven't done any sightseeing yet, we have been busy enough with moving in and getting settled. We only took a couple of suitcases each, so we didn't even have any furniture. Just clothes and some of our favorite gadgets. For me it's books of course, notebooks and pens, and some spare postcards.

Since we haven't had TV, I've had a lot of time to read and have already read several books: The Color Purple by Alice Walker (for the online bookclub), The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down and The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real by Neta Jackson (they are books 2 and 3 in the series), and Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith (book 7 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series). Just before leaving California, I finished listen to the audio book The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester.

I liked them all in their own way. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester is a fascinating true story that involves W.C. Minor, who sends thousands of contributions for the dictionary from Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, and Professor James Murray, who spent more than 40 years of his life on the dictionary project, and at some point becomes Minor's friend. My audio book edition on tape (6 tapes, unabridged) was a delight to listen to. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes non-fiction. I didn't know anything about the development of the Oxford English Dictionary before and it was fascinating to find out how it was written and at the same time hear about two special people who were involved.

I read The Color Purple for my online book club. I have wanted to read the book for quite some time, because I remembered liking the movie, although I didn't remember any details of the contents. At first, it was hard for me to get into the strange English that Celie is using, but as the story develops through her letters, it makes sense that she never had the chance to learn real English and I got used to the style.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group is a series of books that is really fun to read for a Christian woman. These women originally came together at a Women's conference, so they are all from different churches and are all very different types of women. But that way they complement each other and can support each other in their troubles. They also learn to be more open that way. I'd start reading with book one (which we did a while ago for a Christian book club that doesn't exist anymore) and then continue to follow the story. The books make you think about a lot of issues but without being preachy or trying to teach a lesson, the issues are embedded in the story naturally.

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith is book 7 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series. I got hooked on this series also through that book club that doesn't exist anymore. Although beliefs are mentioned in the books every once in a while, these books are not specifically Christian and anyone who likes a cozy mystery would enjoy them.

(50 books in 2010 count: 27)